(1) Orlando Cabrera signs with Reds.
(2) Willy Taveras to A’s, then designated.
(3) Johnny Damon wants to play for Tigers?
(4) Ryan Garko signs with Mariners.
(5) Jose Reyes running sprints.
(6) Orlando Hudson still undecided – Nationals, Indians, Rockies in the mix.
(7) Joe Mauer deal all rumors at this point.
Breaking news: The Mets’ Carlos Beltran reportedly underwent microfracture surgery on his knee after suffering a setback. Early estimates put him out of action for 12 weeks, possibly more. As an added bit of intrigue, he apparently underwent the surgery without permission from the Mets through a personal physician.
This is the most wonderful time of the year. Besides being lyrics from a song, it is also how I feel. I love Halloween, I gussie the place all up with scary sounds, figures, even had a fog machine cranking this year, but I still love the Christmas season the most. I even enjoy, and don’t share this with anyone, hot chocolate and those sappy holiday movies that they play on Lifetime (did I just lose my street cred?).
Before I head out to spend the next couple of days with my extended family, I thought I would list a few things that I hope people in the sports world will either find in their stocking or under their tree come Christmas morning (for those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, Happy Holidays).
To the San Jose Sharks: Playoff success to avoid a mutiny amongst the fans.
To the 49ers and the Raiders: A winning season. Heck, even an 8-8 mark would be terrific.
To Grady Sizemore, Jose Reyes, Coco Crisp, Erik Bedard, Troy Glaus and Josh Hamilton: A full season of health. If you missed my review of the Glaus to Atlanta signing, click on Glaus Signs With Braves.
To Matt Holliday: I hope your agent, the reviled Scott Boras, can deliver the goods on what he surely promised would be a deal approaching $150 million. Right now it doesn’t seem like anyone has any interest in ponying up dollars that even remotely approach that total.
To Brandon Morrow: I hope Santa brings you a heaping helping of control for the holiday. I’m still shocked that the Mariners gave up you so easily. You can read my analysis of the trade in The Other Deal.
To the New York Yankees: I wish you — well my mother told me if I didn’t have something nice to say then I shouldn’t say it, and in the spirit of the season I’m gonna stick to that. I will list a few of my “Tweets” from the Baseball Guys’ Twitter Page that should make what I think pretty obvious.
“Yankees payroll last season was $220 mil, $77.8 mil MORE than any other club. In fact, MORE than 11 other teams payrolls!”
“Yankees only team to pay luxury tax in 2009 – $25.7 mil. They have paid all seven years of existence, $174 of $190 raised overall.”
To the San Francisco Giants: I wish you a heart like the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. Hell, I wish that you also had courage like the Cowardly Lion and a brain like the Scarecrow. Are you really going to just sit there knowing full well that your offense is putrid and do nothing to improve it? Newsflash, 2-years and $12 million for Mark DeRosa likely won’t be enough for a guy who thinks he is worth 3/$30 (even if he isn’t worth that). Do something big will ya Giants? Wait, wasn’t I supposed to keep this positive? Sorry for slipping.
To Garrett Atkins: I wish a return to prominence from the one-time borderline star. I’m not talking a return to his previously phat totals (.329-29-130-117 in 2006), but a nice .285-25-85 season would be great.
To Justin Duchscherer: I wish him peace. I hope he returns to prominence on the field, be it as a reliever or a starter, and I hope he got the help he needed to deal with his clinical depression. In fact, I wish the same for Joey Votto who also dealt with some tough times after losing his father.
At this time of year it’s good to remember what is truly important in life. Homers and shutouts are great, but it’s people that truly matter. So give thanks, wish someone a happy holiday season, and don’t be afraid to extend a helping hand to someone who might need it. Tis’ the season to be jolly remember?
I was thinking about what to write about today, and a couple of stories revolving around shortstops caught my fancy so I just decided to make it a theme and stick with the position for all my comments today.
Jose Reyes took BP on Monday. Since he plays for the Mets that is about as exciting as it would be for you or I to walk out to pick the paper up in the morning to find that it was in the hand of Brooklyn Decker. I never really wanted to visit New York before.
Marco Scutaro may have played his last game because of a heel injury. There are two schools of thought as the club awaits the results of the MRI. Here is what his manager, Cito Gaston said. “I’m pretty sure that he’s probably not going to play the rest of the season.” Of course, that isn’t the way that Scutaro is looking at it. “As soon as I feel good, I’m going to play,” Scutaro said. “If it feels good, I just want to play.” The hope is that there was just scar tissue breaking loose in the heel. If that is the case, he could be back in a few days. If it’s more serious he could be looking at surgery or in the least a few weeks healing doing absolutely nothing. As a Scutaro owner, I certainly hope that he shocks everyone and returns to the field, and soon. Yes, I’m being greedy since he has set career-highs in just about every conceivable category including average (.282), homers (12), RBI (60 tied with 60 last year), runs (100), steals (14), OBP (.379) and OPS (.789). Yeah, that’s a career year folks. Think of this. Scutaro was my 30th round draft pick in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, literally the 436 player off the board and he, and as of this writing he has:
Hit for a higher average than Alexei Ramirez (.279).
Had more homers than Johnny Peralta (11).
Knocked in more runners than Stephen Drew.
Stole more bases than Orlando Cabrera (13)
Scored more runs than Jimmy Rollins (90).
Think about that the next time you throw out some inconsequently name at the end of your draft. Every pick counts, so make sure you view them that way (Scutaro was our target in the 29th round, but we figured, correctly, that he would fall back to us in round 30).
Here are the leaders at the shortstop position over the past 30 days.
AVG:Troy Tulowitzki turned around a horrible start to the season and has flashed a strong finishing kick with a .351 average over the past 30 days. HR:Juan Uribe leads the position with seven home runs. He qualifies at second and third in most leagues and has been one hell of an option late in the year.
RBI: Uribe also leads the position with 19 RBI, in addition to pacing the position with a SLG (.652) and a OPS (1.044). Yeah, he has been scorching.
Runs:Derek Jeter scored 20 runs in his 27 games to lead the way. Rafael Furcal is second with 19 runs while Cliff Pennington has 18. By the way, Pennington is also hitting .306 with 11 RBI in his 28 games, so if he is still there on waivers, and you need some middle infield help, he is worth adding for the final two weeks.
SB:Everth Cabrera and Scutaro with six. That’s right, Scutaro produced 43 percent of his year steal total in the last 30 days.
So there it is. I’ll try to hit some of the other positions over the next couple of weeks as the season winds down because, you know me, I’ll do anything I can to avoid talking about football each day (j/k).
This coming weekend one of the most anticipated Hall of Fame acceptance speeches in recent memory is expected to be given by the always entertaining Rickey Henderson, the greatest leadoff hitter in baseball since Ty Cobb decided to hang up his spikes (Jim Rice will also be officially inducted). Before I delve into the numbers, I thought I would share a few anecdotal tidbits about Henderson, one of the great “characters” in the game.
* Henderson almost always, and I mean always, referred to himself in the third person with statements like ‘Rickey was really good tonight’ or “Rickey is going to take tomorrow off, his body is sore.’ Think I’m making it up? Hardly. Former A’s trainer Barry Weinberg said this. “Sometimes he’d say I think I might be sore tomorrow.” Mike Gallego would say, “How do you know you’re going to be sore tomorrow?” Rickey would reply – “Because Rickey knows Rickey.”
* He once fell asleep while icing his foot, got frostbite, and had to miss three games. True story.
* “Do your stretching before you sleep. That way you wake up loose.”
* When he broke the career stolen base record of Lou Brock, who was in attendance, Henderson exclaimed, loudly, that he was “the greatest of all-time!” Of course he was wearing his stylish Oakley Blades while doing it.
* “You have to keep running. I always believed I was going to be safe.”
* Henderson received a check for a million dollars from the A’s. He was so excited about the bonus that he took the check and had it framed and hung it on his wall. It was only later that he realized he needed to take the check to the bank if he wanted to get his money.
* “Ricky don’t like it when Rickey can’t find Rickey’s limo.”
* Noted Sabermatrician Bill James had this to say about Henderson. “Some people have asked me whether or not Rickey Henderson belonged in the Hall of Fame. I’ve replied “if you could somehow split him in two, you’d have two Hall of Famers.”
Beyond all the fun the man could flat out play, and play he did all the way to the most steals in big league history (1,406) as well as the most runs ever scored (2,295). Henderson also racked up 3,055 hits, socked 297 long balls, and posted a .401 career ob base percentage. Think of things this way.
* Henderson scored at least 100 runs in a season 13 times, second to Hank Aaron’s total of 15 in baseball history. In addition, per 162 games in his career, Henderson averaged 121 runs (think about that for a moment).
* Henderson stole at least 50 bases 13 times, the most in big league history. Per 162 games in his career Henderson averaged 74 steals a season. Since 2000 only one man, Jose Reyes in 2007, has stolen 74 bases in a season (he had 78).
* Henderson’s total of 1,406 steals is 468 more steals than the #2 man on the all-time list, Lou Brock. Amongst active players I believe the leader in steals is Juan Pierre with 452 (Henderson was caught stealing 335 times). Think about that, the active leader doesn’t even have as many steals as Henderson’s lead is over the #2 man all-time. To put it another way, Henderson has roughly a 35% advantage over the second place man on the steals list. If we switch over to home runs that would mean that someone would have to hit over 1,100 home runs in their career to be ahead of the current leader, Barry Bonds (762) by the same percentage.
* Henderson is one of only two men in baseball history to hit 275 home runs while scoring 1,500 times and stealing 500 bases. The other is Barry Bonds.
So sit back and enjoy Henderson’s victory speech this weekend. It should be one heck of an event marking the entrance into the Hall of one of the 10 greatest all-around players ever to lace up the spikes.
What do you do when, seemingly at the pinnacle of your profession, you look around and realize that you are missing out on time with your family because of your job? If you had the ability to financially support yourself and your kin, wouldn’t you do something different? One major league ballplayer who is contemplating doing just that is discussed below. I’ll also touch on a couple of injured players, as well as a guy whose name is a bit confusing to me.
No one seems to believe him, but Mark Buehrle continues to maintain that he will retire at the end of next season at just 32 years of age. “Everybody in here is calling B.S. on it,” Buehrle said. “And it could be. Those two years could fly by and I could say I’m not ready to retire. But today? I don’t see myself playing past this contract.” Buehrle has said this before, in fact he dropped the bombshell in the Chicago Tribune in spring training this season. Buehrle has two kids that he wants to spend more time with, and since they live in Arizona with his wife, there just isn’t enough time for him to spend with his family. “Look, I’m having fun. It’s not like I want to quit. If I didn’t have a family, I’d play until I was 60, or until they kicked me out. I just don’t want to miss my kids growing up.” Given the gazillions of dollars these guys make some are always surprised when guys walk away, but Mark will have made more than $50 million by the end of next season. I don’t know about where you live, but that will buy a whole lot of water wings and swimming lessons where I live.
Ryan Dempster apparently has a broken right big toe. As a result, he was placed on the DL today. No word yet on how long he will be out of action, or for that matter exactly how the injury occurred. Being that it’s the foot that he “pushes” off the rubber with, I’ve got to think that we are looking at more than two weeks here, but I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night so I could certainly be wrong. Dempster heads to the DL with a 5-5 record, 4.09 ERA and a K/9 mark of 7.58, and don’t say you are disappointed with that effort after last years 17-6 mark with a 2.96 ERA, because if you do feel that way you just were listening to us when we told you a regression was coming.
Mark DeRosa, aka the “Savior” if you ask some people in St. Louis, has been placed on the DL due to his wrist injury. Having already missed a week of action, and with the All-Star break approaching, it only made sense for the team to put him on the DL (retroactive to July 1st). I’ve said it before, but let me repeat a few salient facts with the guy. (1) DeRosa owns a career .277 batting average and has never hit .300 in a season (currently .261). (2) DeRosa has one season in his career with more than 13 home runs (21 in ’08, he has 13 this season). (3) DeRosa has one season of more than 75 RBI (87 last season, 50 thus far this year). I’m not saying DeRosa isn’t a valuable bat, he certainly is, but at the same time for a guy who has appeared in 12 major league seasons and has only once hit more than 20 home runs or produced more than 75 RBI there is likely too much pressure being placed upon the 34 year olds shoulders. He isn’t a difference maker.
Jose Reyes suffered yet another setback in his attempt to return to the field. Reyes had a cortisone shot into his injured right hamstring, and I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound very fun to me (I had one in my elbow back when I played, and believe me when I tell you that no one feels too comfortable when they see a doctor walking at them with a needle that is five inches long). This latest treatment seems to signal that Reyes won’t be back for at least another couple of weeks as he will likely have to shut everything down for a few days to let the effects of the shot set in. My best guess? I’m not looking for Reyes until the first week of August.
The Rex Brothers were signed by the Rockies today. Oops, that is only one guy isn’t it? The lefty who has a whopping 132 Ks in 94 innings for the University of Lipscomb this past season, may end up using his hard slider and mid 90′s heater out of the bullpen instead of the rotation for the Rocks as he lacks a true off-speed pitch (one of the reasons he might be shifted to the pen).
Today I’m feeling a bit sick, so I thought it would be appropriate to spend my column discussing guys who are currently on the DL or on the verge of coming off it. So, let’s get to it.
Just how bad is that injury to the knee of Carlos Beltran? Well it isn’t catastrophic and doesn’t appear like he will need surgery, but at the same time the team is bracing to be without their star for more than just 15 days. “I can also tell you that I’m not gonna tell you that he’s gonna be back within the 15 days,” GM Omar Minaya said. “I said to myself … if we get him back for the second half, after the All-Star Break, I’d sign up for that right now.” Wow. The Mets are only 1.5 games back of the Phillies, but if they are without Beltran for three weeks in addition to the other injuries they have suffered (Jose Reyes is likely out until after the All-Star break with his hamstring injury and Carlos Delgado is likely out until August because of his hip surgery), do they really have much of a shot at the playoffs?
I’ve written it before, but here is it again. Oliver Perez as a reliever makes zero sense. The guys takes forever to “find” himself and locate the strike zone, so I cannot see how bringing him into a game in the 7th inning makes any sense at all since he won’t have time to see what is working etc. Maybe I’m wrong, but if I’m the Mets I start him or leave him in the minors starting until he figures out whatever that ails him with his knee and or mechanics. Nothing else makes sense. Oh maybe one thing does – the Mets could trade him to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez.
I don’t get something. OK, I don’t get a lot of things, but I really don’t get how the Indians appear to be handling the case of Grady Sizemore. First off, they let him play far too long with that injured elbow when he clearly wasn’t able to do the things we have been used to seeing from him the past four years since when he finally found his way to the DL he was hitting .223 with a .417 SLG, well below his established baselines of .275 and .486. Then they shut him down for roughly three weeks during which time he basically did nothing to allow the inflammation in his elbow to subside (that makes sense). Then, they had the bright idea of simply activating him without a single game in the minors. “I just want to get back on the field,” said Sizemore. Yeah, we all do Grady, but doesn’t it sound like a bad idea to do nothing for three weeks and then immediately return to major league action? Now we get the following trifecta right before game time on Tuesday night from manager Eric Wedge – Sizemore (a) will not be in the lineup every day, at least for the remainder of this week, (b) might spend some time at DH moving forward and (c) will return to hitting second in the order when Asdrubal Cabrera is ready to return from his shoulder injury, likely later this week. Don’t know about you, but seems like some oddness going on in Cleveland to me.
Joey Votto broke his silence and told the media that the reason that he missed time this season was that he was clinically depressed at the loss of his father last August. I wish you all the best Joey, no more jokes about your condition from this corner now that we know the details.
Does everyone know that Kyle Elfrink and I co-host the Fantasy Buffet Mon., Tues., Thurs. and Fri.? The podcast can be heard at Fanball.com each morning from 8-9 AM, PST. Oh yeah, it’s everyday during the week as Wednesday’s when I’m not there the Godfather of fantasy sports, Charlie Wiegert, steps in to take up my co-hosting chair. Each day we talk about everything sports related, obviously with a fantasy slant, as we break down the latest performances and injuries. Come give the show a listen – it’s not just Kyle and me every day, we also bring in a handful of our other correspondents to allow them to given their views on a myriad of topics. It’s good fun, and if I do say so myself, the show usually comes off without a hitch.
Another day, another top fantasy option has come down with an injury. In fact, you were almost as likely to take a player who has spent time on the DL or on the bench this year with your first round pick as you were likely to draft a healthy player. Just look at how many of the top-15 options heading into the year have dealt with injury.
Miguel Cabrera tweaked a hamstring on Thursday and will be held out of the lineup on Friday though word is that he might be able to pinch-hit if needed. No Cabrera owner can be too upset since their man has hit .354 with 10 home runs, 38 RBI and 34 runs scored so far this season – provided this doesn’t become a DL-type thing.
Hanley Ramirez: He has battled through a variety of injuries all year, and though he is hitting a robust .342, he has only eight home runs and eight steals on the year.
Jose Reyes: The latest news says that his injured calf is now an injured right hamstring tendon. Whether or not that is the same injury and the Mets have kept it under wraps is unknown, but the bottom line is that he is on the DL and the New York Post is reporting that he could miss up to six weeks with the injury. He was hitting only .279 with 11 steals in just 36 games, woeful production for a top-5 pick.
Ryan Braun: Like Hanley, Braun continues to play through a variety of bumps and bruises. Still, he has produced hitting .316 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI, though that pace leaves him barely on pace to produce his third straight 30-100 season. He has only gone deep twice in 19 games which leads me to think he physically ain’t right.
Grady Sizemore: Dude has been lost all year, and now we know why – his elbow is jacked up. Grady hasn’t had surgery on his elbow yet, but it looks like it might be required despite the fact that an MRI didn’t show any structural damage. Sizemore has gone 20/20 in 4-straight year and he could still reach that level since he has nine home runs and seven steals so far provided he doesn’t go under the knife, but his .223 average and .726 OPS show just how awful he has been.
Alex Rodriguez: Had hip surgery and as a result didn’t take the field until May 8th. He is only hitting .250 and doesn’t have a single steal, but he has gone deep seven times with 22 RBI in 26 games.
Josh Hamilton: Like Sizemore, Hamilton may need surgery to fix what ails him. Hamilton is currently on the DL with a strained abdominal muscle. He could be back in two weeks, or he could miss up to two months if he needs surgery. He was hitting only .240 with a .746 OPS though he had drive in 24 runs in 35 games.
Here are some further notes of interest on Friday…
David Ortiz is having his eyes checked since he reported having dry eyes of late. You would think that someone would have checked out his vision a long while ago given his putrid work at the dish this year which includes a .187 average and one home run through 187 ABs. Perhaps some new spectacles will help?
J.J. Putz will be on the shelf for an estimated two months, possibly more, as he will have his elbow operated on to clean some things up. If he comes back as expected, and the team is able to get Billy Wagner back as well, no one will want to face the Mets in September if they can go Putz-Wagner-Francisco Rodriguez in the 7-8-9 innings. I know I wouldn’t.
Brad Penny apparently is on the Braves radar as they look to add some pitching depth. First off, the Red Sox would likely entertain the idea of moving Penny since John Smoltz appears on the cusp or a return to the rotation. The Sox also have Justin Masterson who can start if needed, and don’t forget about Clay Buchholz who continues to toil away in Triple-A simply dominating hitters with his filthy stuff to the tune of a 4-0 record with a 1.74 ERA, 0.76 WHIP and a 4.75 K/BB mark. If you ask me, Penny is the worst option out of those four, so why not move him? If the Braves wanted to add a veteran arm, why didn’t they just hold on to Tom Glavine? For his part, Penny is a very deceiving 5-1 this season thanks to a ton of run support as he has posted a 5.63 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 5.63 K/9 and a 2.00 K/BB. My disdain for Penny is well chronicled going back a couple of seasons, and nothing I have seen from him this season has changed my mind one bit.
Oh, and one last note. Kyle Elfrink, my co-host on the Fantasy Buffet, our Monday through Friday podcast at Fanball.com, recently did a 1-on-1 interview with the Jets’ running back Leon Washington. Listen for that interview on Monday during the 11AM-12PM time slot that we do the show. You can access the interview at the link posted above on Monday.
The FSWA winner of the Best Baseball Series of 2011, BaseballGuys.com is the only source you will need for your fantasy baseball knowledge. OK, you might need other sources, but BaseballGuys.com should be on your daily list of must reads for the insights an analysis it provides on the world of baseball.
About Ray Flowers...
The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: M-F at 5-8 PM EDT), Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three. Ray's work can also be found as feature writer for: Fantasy Alarm, Rotoinfo, Rotowire and Sports Illustrated.
You can contact Ray through e-mail at fantasyfandom@yahoo(dot)com or on Twitter.